Stage 4 – Worshipping In The Spirit
Once we are filled with the Spirit and the Word we naturally start singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs and begin worshipping in the Spirit. This is incredibly powerful and leads to great spiritual results. In this chapter, we will discuss worshipping in the Spirit.
John 4:23, 24 But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him. God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”
Worship is not just a few songs before a sermon, instead it is a key to blessings by God and to power, life and accuracy in Christian ministry.
Jesus tells us that we must worship “in Spirit and in truth” (John4:24). God seeks out spiritual worshippers in order to bless them! So one of the keys to being blessed in life and ministry is to have a life of worship that is absolutely full of Spirit and Truth!
Psalm 100:4,5 Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name! For the LORD is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.
True worship comes about as born-again believers set their minds on the things of the Spirit, are filled with the Spirit, and move into singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. This means that in order to get into the place of worship, which is the place of blessing, we need to first set our minds on the Spirit and be filled with the Spirit.
This eventually leads to deeper forms of worship such as:
- Praying in the Spirit
- Gathering together in the Spirit
- Singing in the Spirit and
- Prophesying in the Spirit
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of worship, and being filled with the Spirit is being filled with the desire to worship. This is because the Holy Spirit causes us to give God His true worth and worthiness, which of course results in worship!
The Holy Spirit also glorifies Jesus (John 16:13,14) which then results in worship.
Paul contrasts worship in the Spirit with worship in the flesh (rituals, race, legalism):
Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh….
These verses in Philippians are part of Paul’s argument against those who wanted Christians to adopt circumcision and other Jewish worship practices. Paul maintains that the externals are of no value. That it is only the Spirit that counts and not the building, the rituals, or the physical characteristics, or racial descent of the worshippers.
There is vain worship, there is worship that does not work, that does not please God, that is dry and dead and awful:
Matthew 15:7-9 You hypocrites! Well did Isaiah prophesy of you, when he said: 8 “ This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
If we marginalize spiritual worship, and replace it with human tradition, we end up dry and dead. We end up spiritually powerless. Then we go back to the flesh, to pride and to the ideas and methods of the world. Worship must not be on the far edge of the Christian life, rather it must be right at the center!
When we worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus our life and ministry becomes alive, living, powerful and worthwhile. Our ego dies in worship. Our ego dies as we glory in Christ Jesus, and then the righteous and good things of God come forth.
True worship is not a mere posture of the body but a renewal of the mind:
Romans 12:1-2 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
As we worship in the Spirit, we enter into heavenly places and the spiritual flow within us produces the fruit of the Spirit. For instance, when we worship in the Spirit we feel more peaceful, joyful, loving and kind. Consistent worship develops temporary feelings into deeply established facets of our character.
Therefore, instead of just feeling joyful when we are at church, we become a continually joyful person on a day-to-day basis. Such worship is a key part of the process of the renewal of the mind described in Romans 12:1,2 above, and throughout the Psalms.
Spirit-filled worship was a key to the sending out of Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13 as the elders of the church at Antioch were praying, fasting, and ministering unto the Lord.
Acts 13: 1-3 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Therefore, before the Spirit-filled Christian can go out and minister to others, he or she must learn how to minister to the Lord in anointed prayer and fasting. We should never be so busy that we push worship to the margins of our ministry.
Time is under God’s control and if we spend time in worship then God will help us to save time on other tasks so that our results are even magnified and multiplied. Glory in the Lord and His glory will come upon you, and your family, and your work, and your ministry!
The kind of worship that God desires is from the heart, in the Spirit, in Truth and in the Name of Jesus. It is not cold, dead, hypocritical, or merely a human ritual. True worship is a living product of a holy and loving community of grace.
Singing, prayer, and the Scriptures have always been part of effective Christian worship and as we saw in the last chapter, both being filled with the Spirit and being filled with the Word produce worship states where people sing in their hearts with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.
Worship needs to be done with a focus on the glory of God.
When we read the book of Revelation we observe a struggle between two groups of people:
a) The true worshippers of the Creator God who creates the heaven, the earth, the seas and the springs of water and redeems mankind and
b) The false and idolatrous worshippers of the image of the Beast who is socially, militarily and economically totally dominant on planet Earth at the time.
Those who worship the image of the Beast end up in eternal torment. Those who refuse to worship the image of the Beast, and worship the true Creator God, receive eternal glory, reigning and ruling with Christ in the New Jerusalem. So, who we worship and how we worship is vitally important!
How then do we go about worshipping God in Spirit and in Truth? Here is a list of ideas:
- Prayerfully reading the Bible
- Listening to anointed Christian music
- Developing an attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving to God
- Going to a Spirit-filled church
- Walking in nature while thinking about God.
- Praying in tongues, singing in tongues
- Going to a prayer meeting
- Praying with two or three good friends
- Make a list of Bible promises then praising God for each of them
- Playing worship music with a group of Christian friends, join a good Christian choir
- Keep a prayer journal
- Stay alert for what God is doing in your life and thank Him for it
People worship in different ways. I prefer classical music and hymns; however, I know that others might prefer contemporary Christian music. Some get almost nothing from observing nature while others are enraptured by it and give praise to God. Some like music that pulses through them at 90 decibels while other prefer silence and quiet contemplation.
It is up to you to find the way that you worship best and to make time and space in your life for it. For worship to be “in the Spirit” you simply have to have your mind fully set on Christ, on the things of the Spirit, and be filled with the Spirit.
Do not just worship alone. Biblical worship, from Genesis to Revelation is mainly in large groups, with occasional small groups and house churches and some individual worship. There is a need to acknowledge one another and be with one another in worship. The biblical metaphors for new covenant worship structures involve individuals being part of a larger organic entity. For instance, we are individual organs in the body of Christ, or living stones in a holy temple that is Christ.
So these metaphors involve three things: a) an individual Christian b) a larger corporate entity c) a living organic structure of some sort: body, bride, living stones etc.
Therefore, you need to worship in a group setting such as a cell group, life group, prayer meeting, church worship service or Christian festival.
Matthew 18:18-20 Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. 19 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Hebrews 10:24-25 And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
- What is the fate of those who worship the image of the Beast instead of Creator God?
- Why is it important to worship in Spirit and Truth and not by human rituals and ideas?
- How can Christians develop a life of worship, gratitude and praise?
How are you going to improve your worship life?